"Special Service" is the sixty-fourth episode and the twenty-seventh episode of the third season (1988–89) of the television series The Twilight Zone. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski, who later created Babylon 5. Some critics noted similarities between the episode’s story and the critically acclaimed feature film The Truman Show, written by Andrew Niccol, which won the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, beating the Babylon 5 series finale "Sleeping in Light", also written by Straczynski.
|The New Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Randy Bradshaw|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||April 8, 1989|
|“||Introduction to Mr. John Selig, a reasonably average man who goes through life with both eyes open and both hands firmly on the wheel. Mr. John Selig, practical and steady, who's about to be blindsided...by the Twilight Zone.||”|
John Selig is starting his day. He shaves and dresses for work, and his wife calls to find out how many eggs he wants. Suddenly, his bathroom mirror falls on one side to reveal a camera with a red light on it. A repairman named Archie rushes in and acts nonchalant about putting the mirror back up, but when John questions him, Archie acts as if the camera was not there. He attempts to leave but he mistakenly mentions John's boss by name, which causes John to become enraged at the thought of cameras spying on him. Archie comments that John is not nearly as nice as he appears on television. When John threatens to call the police, Archie tells him the truth: that John's life is broadcast on television to the entire planet 24 hours a day. John is upset that he didn't know and Archie explains to him that that's the point: it is more interesting if he is unaware.
John confronts his wife Leslie about his recent discovery but she merely brushes it off. As she kisses him goodbye, she tells him not to blow it because the ratings are good. John is puzzled but then tries to act normal while searching for cameras. As he finds and disables more and more of them, the phone rings and he is warned not to damage the equipment. He continues and the doorbell rings. Two men put John in a car with Archie and drive to a television network building where a large group of female fans are there to see John. They enter the building where John meets with the network manager who is outraged at him and talks about how the last five years of John's life have been highly profitable. John is outraged as his privacy is being trampled upon. All the major points of his life have been scripted as even his wife was hired by the show. The manager offers to let him go back to his televised life but John refuses and wants his privacy.
When John is left alone in the manager's office a fan enters and cannot contain herself. John attempts to remove her from the office only to have the other fans burst in. The receptionist gets them out and then Archie arrives to tell John he will take him home. He also explains that he got fired because of John's actions. At the house, Archie comes in to take the cameras out and John discovers the fan mail and gifts that accumulated over the past five years. Archie also brings him a million-dollar check for the pay he received for being on the show. John thinks that perhaps he preferred his life on television, and Archie suggests that John could just continue to act unaware. John then begins to act unaware.
|“||The next time you think people are talking about you behind your back or a happy coincidence seems just a little too good to be true, check behind the bathroom mirror or see if there are any channels missing from your TV. It just might be that John Selig's ratings have dropped and you've become a star in the phosphor-dot world...of the Twilight Zone.||”|
- Steinberg, Don (September 23, 2011). "Films Inspired by Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" – Snapshot". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 27, 2019.